Friday, 30 November 2012

Buzz Off - Hannah Reed

When beekeeper Story Fischer is on the case, you can run – but you can’t hive...
It’s September – National Honey Month – in Moraine, Wisconsin, and things are looking up for Story Fischer. Her messy divorce is final, the honey from her beekeeping business has been harvested, and the market she owns is thriving. Life seems pretty sweet...until Manny, her mentor in the honey business, is found stung to death in his apiary.
Story is still trying to explain to the panicked locals that her honeybees had nothing to do with Manny’s death, when another body is found floating in the Oconomowoc River. This time the evidence points to Story’s ex. Sure, he’s a womanizer and a buzzkill – but a murderer? Desperate to save her bees and her business (and, okay, her ex), it’s up to Story to find a way out of a very sticky situation. (from book cover)

Review:
Cozy mysteries really CAN be written about anything. I will admit, I laughed myself when I saw this (which is probably why I purchased it.) I must say, though, that I absolutely loved it lol. I was not sure at first, I was feeling pretty judgemental and was comparing it to other cozy mysteries that I’ve read and loved, but it very quickly won me over! I flew through it and wanted to start the next one right away. Sadly, I do not own it.
I had absolutely no idea who the murderer was and I love it when that happens. There is nothing worse than when you can figure out the “who, what, where, when, and why” of a murder before the author reveals it all to you. I had my suspicions, but I kept jumping from one person to another. I was not terribly surprised when all was revealed, but the author had started giving more and more hints by that point. So maybe I should be a private detective after all, eh? Haha.
I really enjoyed the character Story. Her love of bees and beekeeping is obvious from the start and it truly has beecome (hehe) a passion for her. When some of the people in Moraine feel that all of the bees should be killed because Manny was stung to death, she fights really hard to prove that something is not right and if Manny had truly been stung to death, why was the ground not littered with bee-bodies??? I also think it’s funny that Story speaks in bullet points. Yup, that’s right, bullet points. Not all the time, but when she’s trying to make a point and give her evidence of something.
Another character that I...enjoyed is not the right word because she was extremely annoying. Let’s say she was well written. Anyway, I am referring to Story’s sister, Holly. While I like this character and she is not annoying all the time, I think this character was trying to make the point that people should NOT talk the way they text. Holly does. “My sister has so much time on her hands, she’d memorized all one-thousand-plus text messaging acronyms known to humankind. I’ve noticed lately, the abbreviations are creeping into her spoken conversations. That’s what comes with too much money and too much spare time: useless habits. In Holly’s case, she has a text-speak habit. I try to keep up. “HT (translation for those more normal: hi there,” she said, making her way over to me and picking up a filled flute. “Cool. A party. HUD (how you doing)?” She’s really funny at times, too. Like when she locked Story, who was naked and just got sprayed by a skunk, out of the truck and drove off without her.
I found it easy to fall into this book. The town, the characters, the murders, the bees. I have the second book out from the library and I purchased the third one the other day. SO excited to read more! If you are a fan of cozy mysteries (Alex, I have you in mind specifically), then you should definitely read it! And if you’ve never read one and have been considering it, give it a shot! I give this book a 4.5/5.
Happy Reading!
Next Review: The Red House by Mark Haddon

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Classics - do we read them?????

"Classic'-a book which people praise and don't read." - Mark Twain
 
I posted this quote on my FB page the other day (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tammy-For-The-Love-of-Reading-Blog/333771939988649?cropsuccess) and it got me thinking about classics. Personally, I am a big fan of classics. This was not always the case, however.
 
As a kid, I did not read classics. I read Sweet Valley, Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, etc. I do not think I would have had much interest in the classics, nor would I have been able to get through them. I made a deal with myself that in my 20s I would start reading classics and I did. Everyone has a different idea of which books classify as classics, but I am referring to "The Secret Garden", "Dracula", Jane Austen novels, etc. While at times they can be difficult to get through (for various reasons, such as language or content) I think they are a great bridge. They are a bridge to a time in which we were not a part of. A time that is long gone and we probably could not survive in if we had to. They link generations of people together and they bring people of different centuries together. We get an understanding for what it means to live a "hard life" (I do not think that not having the lastest and greatest in technology constitutes living a "hard life" and we really have no idea what it means to live without.) These books are an educational tool on a time gone by. There is so much we can get from them and I love them!
 
I will admit, I have not read as many of the classics as I would like. However, I have started collecting them. I have a beautiful hardcover collection of a bunch of classics and this is something I would like to hand down someday (if I do not have children of my own, maybe I will pass them on to my niece or nephew or their kids.) I am afraid sometimes that classics will be forgotten and future generations will not be exposed to them. I have bought a few for my niece and nephew, but I am not sure they have read them. I definitely think they are the kind of books you appreciate more as an adult. One of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE classics is "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. If I had read this as a child, I think I would have found parts of it interesting, but I'm not sure I would have made it all the way through the story. It is a fabulous read, though, and I think anyone would enjoy this story.
 
Here are a list of some of the classics I have read:
 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Alices' Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carol
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Cue For Treason by Geoffrey Trease
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
 
My goal for my 30s is to get through even more classics. I have a bunch on my booksheleves that are waiting for me to read them! I really do think they are important to read and I am going to try and make sure that future generations are somehow exposed to them and they are actually being read.
 
I challenge YOU to go out and see how many classics you can read! Don't miss out on these wonderful stories! Happy Reading!!!!!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Emperor of paris - C.S. Richardson

An intricate and graceful story of the beginnings of an unlikely romance between an illiterate Parisian baker and a woman hiding in a world of books and art.
Octavio Notre-Dame comes from a long line of bakers. Working the ovens of the eighth-district establishment known throughout the neighbourhood as the cake-slice, he produces baguettes and brioches with timeless perfection. Nurtured by his father, Octavio discovers his imagination in stories, but like generations of Notre-Dame men before him, Octavio bears the shame of being unable to read.
Isabeau Normande is born to parents devoted to appearance, to the beauty that shimmers on the surface of things. As a child she suffers a disfiguring accident. As a young woman she finds solace in the basement of the Louvre, restoring great works of art to their original glory. She loses herself in the faces of others while covering the scars that mark her own. But Isabeau’s deepest comfort comes from books.
Set in motion by an endearing cast of misfits-an impoverished painter, a near-blind watchmaker, a jazz-playing veteran of the trenches of World War I and a lonely bookseller-this is a story of the happenstance and fateful twists that can propel two would-be lovers into each other’s path. A master of concision, CS Richardson captures the emotional power of the subtlest gestures, renders a picture complete through an exquisite image and conveys the fullness of a conversation through words that remain unspoken. (from book cover)

Review:
This is my least favourite kind of review to write. Alas, not all books can be liked by everyone. For those of you that know me really well, you know that I am a supporter of all things Canadian! I love Canada! I think it is important to support our fellow Canadians and help them stand out! I so wanted to like this book...I really enjoyed the first 30 pages or so and then I got....well, bored. I could not get into the story, I could not relate to the characters, and a lot of times I found I was just reading the words on a page and I was not absorbing anything. I did enjoy Madame T’s love story. It was the perfect blend of cuteness and sadness. A reminder that not all love stories work out. I also really enjoyed Octavio and Isabeau’s meeting and the bit before (about the last 30 pages or so.) I was actually really involved in the story during this part and could not wait for the moment that they actually met!
I encourage all Canadian fans, such as myself, to pick up this book. Give it a try, don’t go just on my opinion, and PLEASE if anyone loves this story, LET ME KNOW. I give this book a 1.5/5 (sorry!)
Happy Reading!
Next Review: Buzz Off by Hannah Reed

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Bridge by Jane Higgins


The City is divided. The bridges gated. In Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation, waiting for a chance to overrun the residents of Cityside.
Nik is still in high school but is destined for a great career with the Internal Security and Intelligence Services, the brains behind the war. But when ISIS comes recruiting, everyone is shocked when he’s not chosen. There must be an explanation, but no one will talk about it. Then the school is bombed and the hostiles take the bridges. Buildings are burning, kids are dead, and the hostiles have kidnapped Sol. Now ISIS is hunting for Nik. But Nik is on the run, with Sol’s sister Fyffe. They cross the bridge in search of Sol, and Nik finds answers to questions he had never dared to ask.

The Bridge is a gritty adventure set in a future world where fear of outsiders pervades everything. A heart-stopping novel about friendship, identity, and courage from an exciting new voice in young adult fiction. (from book cover)

Congratulations to SpecFicNZ member Jane Higgins who recently won the YA Children’s Choice Award for her YA dystopian novel, The Bridge. Way to go Jane!

Review:
When I received this book to review, I was really really excited. I read the synopsis and was overjoyed that I would be reading another dystopian novel (I may have a slight obsession haha.) I had a really hard time getting into this one, though. I found the beginning to be slow and I was wondering when all of the fun was going to begin. I actually felt that way through a lot of the book, unfortunately. It definitely had its good parts and I felt for Nik when every way he turned something else would be revealed or he would be blamed for something or something bad in general would happen. I found it hard to know who to trust in this novel (which is always a good thing, certainly a sign of a good author) and still do not know what to think about some of the events that occurred in this book. There were a few too many characters at times and I found I had to remind myself who was who and what side these people were on. 

I think there might possibly be a second book? Yes, that is a question lol. I am not 100% sure. The way it was left at the end made me think there would be another (most dystopian novels these days are trilogies.) Will I read the next one? Maybe, I’m not sure. I definitely found the last 100 pages to be the best of the book, so maybe book 2 will be better? I think while I was reading it I wanted it to be better than it was. If you are a fan of dystopian novels, though, please, give it a try. Let me know what you think. I do not know anyone who has read it and I would love to hear other opinions. I give this book a 2.5/5.

Happy Reading!

Next Review: The Emperor of Paris by CS Richardson

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Feline Friends

Being back home for almost a year has been challenging in ways, but the best part has been...my cats. Yup, that's right, the little fur balls. We have 2 female cats, Tigger (17) and Cleo (13 going on 2.) When you are living without animals, you do not always realize that something is missing. It becomes normal that there are no little creatures running around, trying to grab your attention, or getting into things they shouldn't (this happens a LOT at our house.)



Tigger was always the prissy one. She was the female in charge, the Queen, and you did not bother her when she did not want to be bothered. If she wanted attention, she would come to you. All of this, however, has changed over the past few years. She is still the female in charge, however she does not exercise her power as often as she should. She now wants attention ALL THE TIME. She does not care what you are doing or why you are doing it, if she wants attention you had better give it to her or she will talk your ear off. My suggestion? Give her a few snuggles so she'll stop lol.


She knows how to "work" people and will roll around, mutter, and show you her cute little doe-eyes so that you will pet her, pick her up (she's a BIG fan of being picked up), or just give her a bit of a snuggle.

And then we have Cleo. She is the devil cat. Do NOT be fooled by her face. Looks can be deceiving. TRUST me. That is how she sucks you in. She makes you believe she is an angel (come on, look at that face?) and then when you least expect it...BAM! She shows you her real side and you are celebrating Christmas with no tree because she knocked it over and pulled off every single tree ornament. Don't get me wrong, I love her to death. She was a rescue from the Humane Society and she had been found starving in a Salvation Army bin. She did not have an easy life from the start and I'm glad we could give her a home. She is a fantastic lap cat and will snuggle with you as long as you can handle the weight of her on your legs (it's usually not very long.)

As I said, Cleo is 13 going on 2. She has yet to grow up and her face has never matured. She acts like a kitten and thinks she is still a kitten. In fact, that is one of the things we call her. And she answers to it, not surprisingly.
In all seriousness, though, having animals is such an amazing experience. They bring a joy to your life that nobody else can and they love you unconditionally. Thank goodness my cats did not hold it against me that I left home so many times when I was flying back and forth between London and Calgary (although, Tigger would not come near me for the first day I was home, EVERY time I came home...) I am so grateful to have had such wonderful cats, even when they are driving me crazy, and while I am not sure I will get more cats in the future, I will always treasure the time I had with Tigger, Cleo, Smokey (died 2010), and Spice (died 2010.) I hope you love your pets as much as I do and if you do not have any, I hope you will have a fur filled home someday!!!!!





Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot


Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells-taken without her knowledge- became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons-as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet, Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia-a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo-to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family-past and present-is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family-especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences. (from book cover)


Review:
This book was recommended to me by Larissa about 2 years ago. Now that I have finally read it, I can’t believe it took me so long to pick it up. What a fascinating read. I do not read as many non-fiction books, being a huge fiction lover, but I do love to learn. I love books that make you think about things you never would have before, ones that have a human interest story, and I am a big fan of science. This book has all of these. I have not spent much time in a hospital or doctors office or had many tests done. The extent of my medical history is really getting teeth pulled (including my wisdom teeth) and blood tests. I’ve had a few x-rays, but otherwise, nothing. Not once did it occur to me that those items that were removed from my body (teeth, blood, even urine) could be sitting somewhere and could potentially be used for education or research. This idea does not particularly bother me because if it weren’t for medical research, my mother would not be alive today. I can understand why people would be upset, though, at the thought of pieces of themselves being used for education or research when they have not given consent. And that is exactly what happened in the case of Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells.

 http://blogs.plos.org/takeasdirected/2010/05/31/marking-the-magnificent-memory-of-henrietta-lacks/

I’m sitting here with my fingers on the keyboard and just not sure where to start. There is so much I want to say about this book. One, I think it is an important story. For many different reasons. It is important because Henrietta Lacks was not considered when doctors took her cells and used them for research. She was not asked for her consent, she was not told what was happening, and her family was never told my medical professionals that her cells were being used all over the world. Having said that, the HeLa cells have had an AMAZING impact on the world of science and research and without them we would probably not have many of the vaccinations, drugs, and solutions we have today. I’m sure all of our lives have been impacted by the use of HeLa cells in one way or another. Two, I think it is important that we understand that the Lacks family were not looking for compensation, they just wanted to know what was going on with Henrietta’s cells. They did not understand what cells were, they thought that Henrietta had been cloned and there could be numerous people around the world walking around with her face, and while they understood that the use of her cells had saved tons of lives, they did not understand HOW. And finally, I think it is important because we need to understand how necessary it is for researchers to have tissue samples, cells, etc. to use in order to rid the world of these horrendous diseases and sicknesses we all complain about. I think there need to be rules put in place (I do not know how it works in Canada, only what they have said in the book about the process in the US). Personally, I feel it is important for people to give their consent for their tissues to be used for education and research. I personally do not feel it is our call as to WHAT those tissues are used for, but I understand why some people would. 

http://www.workingnurse.com/articles/The-Immortal-Life-of-Henrietta-Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is such an incredible story and I really hope you will go out and read it. I felt for the Lacks family, especially Deborah, and could not imagine how they must have felt because they were not educated and did not understand the science behind the use of Henrietta’s cells. I thought it was really interesting to read all the scientific “stuff” (this had the nerdy side of me squealing with joy.) It was an easy-to-read story and one that SHOULD be read. I know that when I hear the word polio or cancer I will think of Henrietta Lacks. I think the situation should have been dealt with in a different way, but I will always be grateful that her cells were used and had the impact they did. Thank you, Henrietta Lacks. If you want to learn more about Henrietta Lacks, please visit http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Henrietta-Lacks-Immortal-Cells.html. I give this book a 4.5/5.

Happy Reading!

Next Review: The Bridge by Jane Higgins

Friday, 9 November 2012

Where We Belong

Where We Belong - by Emily Giffin

"Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever." (from Goodreads)



Review:

I really enjoy reading Emily Giffins books. When I saw this, her latest, at the library, I knew I had to snatch it up. I cannot imagine how it must feel to put a child up for adoption. It is something I am in full agreement with, as it is usually better for the child, but it would be one of those chapters of your life that you could never forget and let go of. I also couldn’t imagine an 18-year old showing up on my doorstep saying they were my daughter.
I am glad that Giffin did not make Marian and Kirby instant friends and just so happy to finally be a part of each other’s lives. I feel that is unrealistic. A situation like this one needs time for a relationship to be formed and evolve. And that is what she did. The story is told from different points of view, so we know how Marian and Kirby are feeling and that they both are unsure, feel out of place at times, and neither really knows what to expect from the other. A quiet bond slowly forms, almost without the characters, and the reader, realizing it.
Kirby’s family are fairly supportive of her decision to find her birth mother (although they do not find out until after she has done so.) Her sister thinks it is great and is her biggest cheerleader. Her dad is there to push when need be, although he finds himself feeling different when the thought of a birth father is brought to light. And her mom is trying her best to be supportive, but feels threatened and, I think, worries that she will lose her daughter that she has been having a hard time connecting with lately. I think the portrayal of this family is realistic and shows the good and the bad of adopted children searching for where they came from biologically. This is a somewhat neat and tidy portrayal, but there are definitely aspects of the story that are not. We see how the characters are not perfect and mistakes have been made. Big ones. Some would say unforgivable ones. It can be easy to forget that as people grow, they change, and we do not stay the person we were when we make a mistake. This can be seen in this story.
If you are a fan of Giffin’s work, or chic-lit in general, I recommend this book to you. I found myself wondering what was going to happen next and what else Giffin could possibly throw into the mix. I give this book a 4/5.

Happy Reading!

Next Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thank You, 30!!!!


Trying to decide what to write for my first “personal” post has been...a challenge. Even as I am typing this, I have no idea what I am going to say. Should I write about starting my job? My friends? What I like to do in my spare time besides read? No, no, and no. Today, I shall write about turning 30.

I turn 30 in 51 days. I believe it is a milestone. Turning 25 is a milestone as you are now officially a quarter of a century old, but 30 is...different. I’m not sure why it’s a milestone, exactly, but it is. It’s also an age in which you start to reflect on the things you have done in your life. You question who you are, where your life is headed, and of course, the dreaded, will I have a husband and kids?

When I look back on my life, I feel pretty good about it. Is it anything close to what I thought it would be? Um, no. Are there things I wish I had done that I didn’t? Definitely. One of those things is French. I began taking French in elementary school just like everyone else and took a course in grade 9, again, like everyone else. Unlike my friends, I continued taking it until the end of grade 11. I was pretty decent at it, I learned it pretty well, but no one in my life spoke French and I eventually lost the interest and my knowledge. Now, at 29, I wish I had stuck with it. I wish I had taken it until the end of high school and continued taking it in post-secondary education. I now know a few people who speak French and here I am stuck with bonjour, au revoir, comment ca va?, ca va bien/mal/tres bien, and other basics like that. Learning French is very important to me and I am considering getting Rosetta Stone. I have heard great things about it and it is simple and easy to use. I’ll let you know what I decide ;).

Another thing that stands out when I look back on my life is that I lived in Calgary. I still find this hard to believe and have days that I wake up and my first thought is, “I used to live in Calgary.” I don’t know why this is so strange to me. I talked about moving to Calgary since I was a kid, so the fact that I followed through on it should not be a surprise, right? My time in Calgary was challenging and I was pretty homesick. I learned a great deal of things about myself while I was there, though. 1) Having a support system around is extremely important to me. 2) I am way more independent than I thought. 3) I can handle more than I thought. 4) I am actually a social person and make friends very easily. I was even told this past summer that I am a social butterfly!!! 5) It can be hard to make the best of a difficult situation, but in order to survive, that is what must be done. I made some really great friends when I was in Calgary and was able to experience some really great things. I fell in love with the mountains and I even fell in love with the plains. Even though I have been back in Ontario for 10+ months now there are still people I talk to from Calgary on a regular basis. They are pillars in my life and always will be. 

 My first time on the University of Calgary campus - September 2007

 Trip to Lake Louise - December 2010

Primatology Field School, Belize - June 2010

The most recent thought in my mind has been “who am I?” I do not have all the answers to this question, and I probably never will, but going through the journey is half the battle, right? I have been making a lot of changes in my life in recent months and am happy to report that they are going well. It can be hard to find the positive in any situation, but that is what I have been trying to do. And I am succeedingJ. I am trying to be more mindful of the people in my life and help out in whatever way I can. I am making the best of the situation I am in and working toward changing it to be what I want. I am by no means a perfect person, I have made my fair share of mistakes in my life, but I am grateful for it all. If I had not made the mistakes I did, I would not be the person I am. I am sorry about the people I have hurt along the way. The mistakes I have made have been life-changing experiences, and I am not the type to make the same mistake twice. I am not going to sit here and list all of the bad things I have done, but I will say that I try not to live with regrets. I believe everything happens for a reason, and that reason may not be apparent at the time. At some point, though, understanding will come and we are able to see things differently. If I changed one mistake I made in my life, I would be a completely different person, in a completely different place. I am happy to be who I am, where I am, and going through the things I am going through.

I saw this on Facebook the other day and I wanted to share it:
“I know today is Monday and you assume it’s probably gonna suck balls, but according to statistics, there will be over 5,000 weddings, 10,000 childbirths, and 42 million hugs occurring today throughout the United States. Also today, there will be at least 4 people that win multi-million-dollar lotteries, 600 people who get a promotion at work, and 3,000 people who lose their virginity. There will also be 600 dogs adopted, 35,000 balloons sold, and 800,000 Skittles eaten. Plus, the words “I love you” will be said over 9 million times. So again, I know today is Monday and you assume it’s probably gonna suck, but just smile because according to statistics, it should actually be a really nice day.”

So, in looking back on my life, and looking ahead to turning 30, I can feel good about where my life is headed and hitting this next milestone. I am lucky to have the things that I have, the people I have in my life, and the cutest cats in the world. Who says I have to have kids by the time I’m 30? Who says I have to have kids at all? Or get married? I make the rules for my life and I make the plan. I can take a photography class, get my French back, maybe even learn how to play the piano. I still have plenty of time to do all the things I wish to do, but in the meantime, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I have turning 30 to thank for it.

 Michelle, myself, and Claudia at my convocation - June 2012

Susan and I at Niagara Falls - July 2012

Jen and I at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory (no, I'm not naked! I'm wearing a strapless top haha) - September 2012